Adapted from UN Intranet - iSeek

Peacekeepers awarded Dag Hammarskjöld medals

The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is a posthumous award to members of peacekeeping operations who have lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation.As part of the ceremonies commemorating the fifth annual International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, on Wednesday, 30 May 2007, Dag Hammarskjöld medals were awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives last year serving in peacekeeping operations. The medals were received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions to be forwarded on to the next of kin.

In a separate ceremony, Jean-Marie  Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations awarded peacekeeping medals to the military and police officers currently serving in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at Headquarters.

While the Dag Hammarskjöld medals pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who died, the greatest monument to their contribution is a set of United Nations peacekeeping successes in 2006. These included helping the Democratic Republic of the Congo hold its first elections in 40 years; helping solidify peace and ensure justice in West Africa by transferring indicted war criminal and former Liberian President Charles Taylor to face charges for crimes committed in Sierra Leone; helping implement a major peace agreement in southern Sudan; and supporting elections and helping to establish the rule of law in Haiti by working with the national police to curb gang violence.

The year also saw a major European reengagement in peacekeeping as countries from the continent stepped forward to bolster the peacekeeping force in Lebanon, including by providing the UN's first major naval force, to support a ceasefire in southern Lebanon following last summer's conflict between Israel and Hizbollah.

Historical background

On 22 July 1997, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of peacekeeping, the Security Council held a meeting to honour the over 750,000 men and women who served in United Nations peacekeeping operations. More than 1500 of them lost their lives. At the meeting, by resolution 1121 (1997), the Security Council established the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Medal as a posthumous award to members of peacekeeping operations "as a tribute to the sacrifice of those who have lost their life as a result of service in peacekeeping operations under the operational control and authority of the United Nations".

On 6 October 1998, the first Medal was presented to the family of Dag Hammarskjöld. The second medal honoured Commandant René de Labarrière, Military Observer in United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, who was the first peacekeeper to lose his life in a United Nations peacekeeping operation, in 1948. The third Medal was received by the family of Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator in Palestine, who was assassinated on 17 September 1948 in Jerusalem.